Zero to 60 in 15 Seconds!
Speed, speed, speed! That’s what many clients want to talk about, these days – when the topic comes up of automating customer orders and bringing these orders automatically into their ERP system.
The reason is that nobody has any time to mess around anymore with lengthy, extended, often-delayed B2B on-boarding projects. Companies are running leaner, Supply Chain executives are being asked to do more with less, and adding more FTEs is a no-no. So when it comes to automating customer orders and getting them electronically into your ERP system, everyone is in a hurry to get it done as quickly and with as little effort as possible.
Luckily for our clients, Elemica offers a solution that is custom-built to fit this need. QuickLink Email, a state-of-the-art solution we have been deploying for many years now, allows our clients to deploy customer order automation quickly and to large groups of customers. We are talking about on-boarding programs of dozens or even hundreds of customers rather than the traditional one-at-a-time mode – which is just too slow.
The way we make it possible is the magic mapping that takes place in QuickLink Email. We use the mapping to take customer POs that are sent by email, translate them into our clients’ ERP formats (IDOCS, XML, EDI, or some kind of structured flat file). To our clients and their CSR teams, the orders pop up “automatically” in their ERP order management screens, and thus they look like EDI orders coming in.
This approach has a huge benefit in that each customer gets to use whatever PO format they prefer. Each customer tends to be unique – sending POs that include similar information (product codes, quantities, ship-to locations, preferred arrival date, etc.) while even located in different parts of the document. Elemica’s magical mapping capability has a way of sifting through all of the relevant details in the customer’s chosen format – gathering the key Sales Order information together and then translating it to our clients’ formats and delivering it to their ERP.
That’s a key benefit – no disruption of the customer’s processes or any need for technical work on the customer’s side. But it’s also fast – which is the theme of this blog article. Our clients find that they can get a new customer automated within weeks or even days – versus the months it takes to complete a traditional EDI or XML integration project. One of our clients automated over 120 customers within 12 months – far more than they were to accomplish in 20 years of trying the EDI approach.
Sure, it takes some time to initially create the QuickLink Email platform and ensure that your ERP system knows how to consume the incoming POs and where to put them in your Sales Order Management module; but once the platform is in place and has been tested, it is extremely quick to add new customers to it. And best of all, Elemica can work on groups of customers in parallel, so we can work on 10, 20, even 50 or 100 customers to be automated all at the same time. That’s actually our preferred mode of working with this solution.
Another reason we can move so fast is that the solution requires very light ERP setup work. As opposed to an EDI / XML project, you will need very little time from your IT department. Sometimes an ERP-savvy CSR with the right level of ERP access can actually do all the IT setups that are required, and you don’t have to bother your IT department at all – which is certainly an added plus!
We find that the limiting factor in these on-boarding projects is actually getting enough registration forms for new on-boardings quickly enough. We need certain basic information on each customer in order to do our magic mapping (i.e., which products are they allowed to order, what Ship-to locations do they have, what are the Buyers’ email addresses, and so on). Clients truly interested in speed of execution will provide us with dozens and dozens of these customer profiles up front, so we can get to the mapping part right away.
Is a high-speed, turbo-charged customer order on-boarding right for your company?